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Monday, March 18, 2013

Story: The Short-Legged Deer

Once upon a time there was a baby deer who was born with legs half as long as other deer of the same age. She often wondered why her own legs were so short that she always had to trail behind her friends all the time. Her dad told her it was just a phase and, by the time she reached five years old, her legs would grow to the normal length, just like everyone else's legs, and she would be able to run around as fast as her friends, and nobody would remember she had had short legs.

The deer believed her dad and waited patiently for her legs to grow longer. Meanwhile, she shuffled around in her short little legs, making the best of what she had. All the time she had doubts about whether her legs would truly grow out, but hope dies hard. An old deer laughed at her and noted that he had lost an eye in an accident when he had been as young as she, and he never grew a new eye. What was so special about her that her deformed legs would lengthen and make her whole? She agreed that she had never seen such miracles with her own eyes, but then people still talk about miracles and stuff so they must happen sometimes to some people.

Some days, she thought her legs itched and did seem to grow some. Other days her legs looked as short as ever and left her in despair. But days go by nevertheless, never slowing down for her speculations. By the time she was four years and eleven months, the glimmer of hope was re-kindled, and she was really looking forward to the birthday. It was looking less and less likely, as her legs grew some over the years but were still short. She was able to live a fairly normal life and cope with the deficiency. But still, she often dreamed about strutting around with four long, strong legs as beautiful as anyone's. What if? As her fifth birthday approached she could barely contain her nervous anticipation and could sleep only half as much as she usually did.

The day finally arrived. She was awake all night waiting for the miracle to happen. By midnight nothing happened. She waited till sunrise. Nothing happened. Her legs were as stubby as ever. She was crushed and enraged. She kicked tree stumps and rocks and dirt like a mad deer, weeping and wailing at the injustice of the universe, yelling at anyone she knew with envy and hate.

Finally, exhausted, she lay down on the grass and sobbed asleep. When she woke up, it was the day after her fifth birthday. The legs were as short as they had always been. The sun still rose. She was still herself. And the world had not changed for her or anyone else. With short stubby legs and no justice in the world, she stood up and walked on like she had done all her life.

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